Coach's Corner

It would've been a perfect scenario for the future of Husky Football: Going back to playing in the old Pac-8 conference and moving the two Arizona schools into a new Southwest division of the Pacific Conference. Whatever they would've decided to name this new 16-team megaconference, it all sounded good with me. It was just too good to be true.

Out of conference games against the likes of Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas A&M, all promised to be great matchups on future Husky schedules. Bring em on! The Dawgs could've played with any of them and we wouldn't have had to worry about a drain on local talent. Those schools have plenty of athletes in their own area to keep them from raiding the Northwest.

Football is still football no matter where you play it, and often we have seen Pac-10 teams beat teams from the old Southwest and Big 12 conferences. Heck, I can even remember the Cougars beating mighty Texas in the Holiday Bowl a few years back, and even though Washington's record against those teams is not a winning one, the Huskies would've been very competitive.

In Texas, football is almost an obsession, with high school games often featuring crowds of 40,000-plus. In that part of the country, football is definitely King and everyone's fall is planned around the football schedule.

How could this not have been a great thing for the truly serious football fan? We were about to become the premier football conference in the whole country. To heck with the SEC, the power shift would have moved west, far west.

But it was not meant to be, and maybe that's a good thing. Those schools are staying loyal to their conference, as well they should have, and Colorado and Utah - two well-respected state universities - enter the PAC-10 to make it the Pac-12. It's still a win-win for the conference by adding the Denver and Salt Lake City television markets. Geographically-speaking, adding these two schools is much more friendly for travel - especially when considering all the other sports involved.

Football-wise, Utah is no slouch if you have been following their record over this past decade, and even though Colorado is coming off a poor season last year, they have always been a solid football school. Both areas also support professional franchises, which helps make them media friendly.

I don't think BYU or Boise State got much consideration simply due to town size, school size and overall academic standings. BYU's recently discredited on-line classes probably didn't do any good for their academic reputation, but being a religion-based university pretty much eliminated them anyway. Either school could have been competitive on the gridiron, but locking up the state schools of Utah and Colorado makes more sense.

Now it will be interesting to see how they align the two six team divisions in order to have a playoff and its added revenue. One idea would be to split the two new teams into different divisions, but the most logical thing would be to put the two Washington schools, the two Oregon schools and the two Bay area schools in a "north" division and add Colorado and Utah to the two Arizona schools and the two LA schools to form a "south" division.

That would keep most of the traditional rivalries in place and each team would skip two teams a year out of the other division. It's not the ideal situation for UW as it would be good to be in LA once a year, but with expansion always comes some growing pains.

Now that the dust has settled, it is obvious that when Nebraska and the Big-8 decided to join Texas and Southwest Conference (which used to include Arkansas), Texas retained its leadership and controlling position within the then created Big-12.

Nebraska, who ruled during the days of the old Big-8, hasn't won a championship in over a decade and their reasons for leaving are not all financial or based on geography. Remember, Iowa is also in the Big-10. And Colorado jumped at the chance to finally be included in the west and Utah is the most natural addition to take the Pac-10 to a 12-team conference.

When daydreaming about expansion, it was fun to think about what could've been, but the Pac-12 has a nice ring to it and pretty much locks up all the major universities west of the Rockies.

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